Lady Jackets fall just shy of state tournament

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Photo courtesy of Average Joe’s Sports Talk 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Glencoe finished a game shy of qualifying the Class 3A state softball tournament this past week at Sand Mountain Park in Albertville.
Competing in the East Regionals, the Lady Yellow Jackets reached the playback bracket finals, where Glencoe fell to Piedmont, 2-0.
“We actually hit the ball pretty hard [against] Piedmont but they were right at somebody,” said Glencoe head coach Taylor Talbot. “We had three balls caught on the warning track that probably would have been home runs if the wind wasn’t blowing in, but it is what it is.”
In a pitcher’s duel between Glencoe’s Summer Crump and Piedmont’s Savannah Smith, Smith eventually came out of top. Over the full seven innings, she scattered four hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Sarah Goss scored what eventually became the winning run on a steal of home in the top of the first. Glencoe loaded the bases in the bottom of the but could not get a run across, and Jaycee Glover’s RBI base hit in the second provided Smith with a two-run cushion. Smith proceeded to retire 18 of the final 20 Glencoe batters to notch the win. Abi Bunt, Emma Croy, Aubrey Maxwell and Jaxson Sizemore each had a hit for Glencoe.
Crump went six innings, allowing five hits, one earned run and two walks. From the third through the sixth innings, she allowed only two hits while twice retiring the side in order.
“It was a well-pitched game on both sides,” said Talbot. “It was a heck of a ball game. It just didn’t go our way, but I’m really proud of our girls.”
The Lady Yellow Jackets opened the tournament on May 9 with a 7-6 win against Sylvania. Sizemore’s two-out, two-run base hit in the bottom of the sixth inning held up as the winning score. Hailey Hanners went 2-for-3 with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored; Sizemore went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI; Sadie Waldrop went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Bunt went 1-or-2 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored.
After dropping to the playback bracket with a 12-0 loss to Piedmont, Glencoe posted a 16-4 win in five innings over Hokes Bluff. The Lady Eagles took the early lead with a three-run inning in the top of the first, when Kayla Traylor reached on an error and scored on Rosie Garrett’s single. Garrett then came home on Sophia Jackson’s base hit, while Hayden Wolfe’s single later in the inning plated Abby Payne.
The Lady Jackets drew within 3-1 in the bottom of the inning by way of Maxwell’s run-scoring single, Glencoe took the lead for good in the next inning with for runs, highlighted by a two-run double by Hanners that made it 5-3.
Ava Dodd’s sacrifice fly in the top of the third drew Hokes Bluff within a run, but that turned out to be the extent of the Lady Eagles’ offense for the game.
Glencoe put across nine runs in the bottom of the inning, which included a three-run double by Cayse Willett. Croy singled home Bunt and Waldrop drove in Willett in the top pf the fourth for the final margin of victory.
Croy went 3-for-4 with a double, four RBI and three runs scored; Willett went 2-for-3 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored; Sizemore went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored; Hanners went 2-for-2 with a double, two RBI and a run scored; Bunt went 1-for-2 with three runs scored; Crump and Emma Hyfield each had a hit and two runs scored and Waldrop had a hit, and RBI and a run scored.
Crump went the full five innings to earn the win, allowing six hits and two walks while fanning three.
For Hokes Bluff, Wolfe went 2-for-3, while Payne had a hit and two runs scored.
The Lady Jackets’ offensive momentum carried over to the playback semifinals, where Glencoe and Sylvania produced a 30-hit, 28-run marathon that Glencoe eventually won by a score of 15-13.
“We had a little bit of a lull [in the 12-0 loss to Piedmont], and our girls took it personally,” said Talbot. “We came back strong against Hokes Bluff, who is our big rival and a really good team, and that kind of trickled into the Sylvania game.”
The Lady Yellow Jackets had a 12-7 lead and were three outs away from the win when the Lady Rams scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.
It didn’t take long for Glencoe to regain the lead in the top of the eighth, as Maxwell and Waldrop singled and reached scoring position on a sacrifice fly by Crump. In the next at-bat, Jordyn Morris lined a triple to right field for a two-run lead. Sizemore’s RBI fly-out later in the inning made it 15-13.
Glencoe endured a tense moment bottom of the eighth when Sylvania had runners on second and third with two outs, but Crump induced a fly-out to secure the win.
Maxwell went 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored; Willett went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored; Morris went 2-for-5 with five RBI and a run scored; Croy had a hit, three RBI and a run scored and Bunt had a hit and four runs scored.
“This group always had the ability, but the work ethic is what set them apart,” said Talbot. “I really can’t remember a single day that we didn’t have somebody getting in some extra swings and taking some ground balls.”

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